As a freelance writer for Crain’s Advertising Age, I have to visit their building every now and then. The publishing house occupies a couple of floors in a big building on 711 Third Avenue and, as it often is the case in many office buildings, visitors are expected to fill out a visitor’s book with basic information such as name, time in, person you are visiting, time out, etc.
Nothing wrong with that, except during my last visit I noticed the visitor’s book had a new field that had been dutifully filled in by previous visitors: “Are you a citizen of the United States?” That was a first (and I’ve lived in this country for over 9 years now). Of course, I found that very amusing, and wrote a big “NO” in the corresponding column. I was also proud to see I was the first “NO” of the day. Apparently, everyone before me was either a proud American or a dangerous foreigner trying to sneak in.
Curious, I asked the editors why such information was required, and received the most sensible, honest answer anyone could have expected:
“We got that thing at Staples … we had no idea about that!”